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Surprise, Surprise.  In an act that can only be described as jealously guarding its own turf, the Standing Committee of Correspondents ruled yesterday that scotusblog's Lyle Denniston couldn't have his press credential renewed for the Senate because scotusblog isn't an independent news organization.  Scotusblog's response can be read there, but more details after the squiggle.

Scotusblog is the premiere source for all news about the Supreme Court.  Really probably the only news organization reliably covering the Supreme Court.  Last year when the ACA decision came down, they were one of the first to correctly report the news after bothering to actually read the decision instead of just spouting off nonsense.  On Wednesday and Thursday morning and possibly next Monday, scotusblog is where I'll be waiting to see what decisions are released in important cases like Hobby Lobby, recess appointments (Noel Canning), unions (Harris), cell phone searches (Riley and Wurie), abortion clinic protests (Coakley), and streaming OTA TV (Aereo).  Because I certainly don't trust the MSM to give me accurate and knowledgeable news about these decisions.  And how did I know these cases are still outstanding and when they are scheduled to be released(though not which on which day)?  Again, from Scotusblog.

But apparently they are not a news organization.  In order to be a news organization you need to falsely report that the ACA had been struck down on TV for ten minutes.  You also need to be completely ignorant of the subject matter you are reporting on, because one of the Standing Committee's prime objections was that the blog is run by a lawyer.  Fancy that.  The steps scotusblog takes to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest are beyond reproach.  And are more than most other news organizations take.  And you can't have ads either.  Don't ask me how other news organizations make money; it doesn't make sense to me either.

Lyle Denniston is a full time reporter who covers the Supreme Court and needed press credential access to the Senate to cover bills and hearings pertinent to the Supreme Court such as hearings on constitutional amendments, SCOTUS's budget, hearings where justices testify, and confirmation hearings.   Giving him a press credential is the least they can do.  But I guess they are more interesting in protecting their little fiefdom[the Senate itself tries to avoid getting involved in these decisions].

Based on this decision, if Markos wanted to hire a full time reporter to cover congress, it is doubtful that they could get a press credential.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yeah, I saw this yesterday morning (22+ / 0-)

    during their liveblogging of the SCOTUS orders and rulings.

    It's a ridiculous decision. Scotusblog does more real journalism than most newspapers do.

    "Turns out I'm really good at killing people." - President Obama

    by jrooth on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 04:38:51 PM PDT

    •  I LOVE Scotusblog and quote from them frequently (4+ / 0-)

      when I am writing here. I also refer people to their site, and very valuable analysis like their "In Plain English" columns which are great for lay people to better understand the cases at the SCOTUS. Lyle is their workhorse reporter and his work is exceptional.

      Bloomberg is an investor in Scotusblog and maybe they can do an end run and secure a credential for Lyle.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 06:17:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We've lost our "Journalists" (10+ / 0-)

    A journalist use to report a story based on facts, and research, not personal opinion.  Scoutusblog did just that.
    Reported on what happened, and put out good information.

    I watched a bit of CNN with Erin Burnett today.  and I got a queasy feeling from her questions.  They weren't framed in a way a journalist would ask, but rather set up exactly how Fox News would ask a question.  

    "Has President Obama made Iraq worse"  
    "How much worse will President Obama's favor-ability numbers get ?

    Why Hasn't President Obama caught Osama Bin Laden yet ?

     Has Bill Clinton made things worse for Hillary Clinton?

    It just goes on, and on, and on, and on with the "Anything to make the President look bad, kind of interviewing, and questions, rather than presenting "News" and "Facts"  

    That's the crap that seems to qualify for "press credentials" these days.  

    I am guessing Fox New's # 1 reporter is  on CNN and her nae is Erin Burnett.

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 04:51:19 PM PDT

    •  Journalists Have Done This At Times, Not At Others (0+ / 0-)

      from our earliest years the press has lied us into wars, defrauded the people financially, and thrown elections and trials.

      The free press concept is an agreement to found the fundamental basis of civilization on warlordism. Corporations owned and sponsored by corporations, fundamentally free of check, balance or quality controls on their core service.

      THere will come a time when that is viewed as total surrender to barbarism.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 07:31:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That was cool... (3+ / 0-)

    "approach" changed to the correct "reproach" as I was reading! Oh and while you're editing, do please put a space between words and the bracketed content following it:

    "appointments(Noel Canning), unions(Harris)" etc should be:
    "appointments (Noel Canning), unions (Harris)" etc.

    Okay, now that I have my editor-y pet peeves out of the way:

    The nerve of the Standing Committee of Correspondents! I'd like to see their definition of " an independent news organization" - scotusblog is as independent as you could possibly get and actually reports accurate news! Since when did professional expertise disqualify a person from journalism? Not to mention their complaint regarding ads - hypocritical wankers!

    Is this Standing Committee of Correspondents a Congressional committee? If so, it seems to me that their ruling is a clear violation of the First Amendment:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
    Denniston should be able to take legal action - there's a glaring irony in that.

    Please note that lamps in the MAGIC LAMP EMPORIUM are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

    by Mopshell on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 04:59:27 PM PDT

    •  You might want to correct the position of the (0+ / 0-)

      first quote. It's an editor-y pet peeve of mine.

      Just sayin'.

      The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blogs: and

      by cany on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 05:03:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry - (0+ / 0-)

        what did I do? I guess I'm being really dense here... I swear, you'd think I would have learned by now to STFU and just get on with the actual comment. Sorry.

        Please note that lamps in the MAGIC LAMP EMPORIUM are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

        by Mopshell on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 05:15:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  perhaps (0+ / 0-)
          The nerve of the Standing Committee of Correspondents! I'd like to see their definition of " an independent news organization" - scotusblog is as independent as you could possibly get and actually reports accurate news! Since when did professional expertise disqualify a person from journalism? Not to mention their complaint regarding ads - hypocritical wankers!
          The first quote in that paragraph.
    •  Standing Committee (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Is a group of reporters that cover the Senate.  It isn't a Senate Committee as in a committee made up of Senators.

    •  Their definition of independent news organization (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaso, kurt, Mopshell

      If you read their  reasoning:

      “Applicants ‘publications must be editorially independent of any institution, foundation or interest group that lobbies the federal government. or that is not principally a general news organization.

      SCOTUSblog failed in three ways to convince the committee that it met this rule:

      a) The rule says the publication must be editorially independent of any institution that lobbies the federal government. At the meeting and elsewhere, law-firm partner Thomas C. Goldstein said he controls the editorial direction of the blog and determines areas of coverage.  At the same time, Mr. Goldstein advocates before the Supreme Court, which is a form of lobbying the federal government.
      Thus, SCOTUSblog fails the test of editorial independence from any institution that lobbies the federal government because it is instead editorially intertwined with a law partner and a firm that lobbies the federal government.

      b) The rule says that the publication must be editorially independent of any institution that is not principally a general news organization.  That means SCOTUSblog would need to be editorially independent of Mr. Goldstein and the firm, Goldstein & Russell, because neither is principally a general news organization.  As stated above, SCOTUSblog is not editorially independent of Mr. Goldstein or Goldstein & Russell.

      c) For SCOTUSblog to be editorially independent of Mr. Goldstein and his law firm, it could not, under the rule, serve as a client-generating vehicle for either.  But as recently as last year, Mr. Goldstein told the American Bar Association that SCOTUSblog indirectly accounted for 75 percent of the law firm’s Supreme Court business. Mr. Goldstein also uses SCOTUSblog as a platform for publicity material about himself, making the blog part of his personal brand.
      At the May 23 meeting, Mr. Goldstein said that SCOTUSblog’s editorial policy of January 2014 is the firewall that keeps the blog editorially independent from the law practice. This policy, posted here and here states that the blog will solicit non-staff reporters to cover cases argued by the firm, and that there will be separate financial accounts for the blog and the firm. Mr. Goldstein said at the meeting that the blog will disclose when the firm has been hired to work on a case covered by the blog in all but the rarest cases.

      The Standing Committee of Correspondents seems to feel that there should be no overlap in personnel, office space or resources between the law firm and the blog.  Tom Goldstein seems to think that creates a huge burden on an effort like SCOTUSblog.

      A possible analogy might be to look at what sort of "firewall" is necessary to create separation between an organized religion and an affiliated organization so that the affiliate is eligible for federal funding that can't be given directly toward religion.

      •  I find it amusing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That one of their rationales is that SCOTUSblog makes Mr. Goldstein look good.  It makes him look good because it does a good job at reporting the news.

        Also as to Mr. Goldstein, yes he has another job to pay the bills.  But in his role as editor of SCOTUSblog he is principally a news organization.

        As for lobbying, there is no suggestion that Lyle Denniston has ever lobbied anyone nor has Tom Goldstein or his firm ever lobbied the Senate itself.  Also Lyle has no problem getting press access to the Supreme Court itself.

  •  The Columbia Journalism Review disagrees (10+ / 0-)

    What the SCOTUSblog credential ruling gets wrong

    Those facts do challenge the site’s editorial independence, but SCOTUSblog’s firewalls are stronger than the committee suggests—and when Goldstein asked the committee at the May hearing what more he could do to separate the site and firm, the only suggestion, from Itkowitz, was the creation of a journalistic advisory board. We’d be remiss, too, if we didn’t at least note the image and credibility problems of a gallery unwilling to credential SCOTUSblog but more than willing to credential foreign correspondents employed by state-run or state-owned publications, whose home countries lobby the federal government.

    Finally, the most disappointing part of the Standing Committee’s decision is its apparent preference for traditional news media. As a Harvard study reported recently, citizen and independent journalistic activity, some of which might be characterized as conflicted or activist, is critical in the current news environment, in which the production and distribution of news is more dispersed than ever—and the traditional news media are reinventing themselves to survive. Non-traditional forms of journalistic activity are vital to public affairs reporting as the economic foundation of newspapers, the chief source of such reporting, continues to erode.

    According to the Harvard study:

    Many … who undertake independent journalistic activity … are likely to be motivated by personal concerns over particular issues, whether social, political, environmental, or otherwise. But [that motivation] may raise questions about the objectivity of their reporting … Credentialing organizations might be concerned that these individuals would either report on events in a biased fashion or (less likely) use their access to restricted locations as an opportunity for protest … The practice of denying credentials based upon perceptions of bias can all too easily lead to viewpoint-based decisions made to protect the credentialing organization itself rather than the public.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 05:16:15 PM PDT

  •  The monopoly must be protected (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lcrp, IB JOHN

    "The spice must flow"

  •  This is the best sentence I read all week. (6+ / 0-)
    In order to be a news organization you need to falsely report that the ACA had been struck down on TV for ten minutes.

    Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

    by Matt Z on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 05:27:27 PM PDT

  •  John Oliver mentioned this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on an interview with Terry something's show (sorry, my colleague played it in the car while I was driving).

    He said to the effect that journalists should not be 'comfortable' around the people they are reporting on. For whomever he satirizes or uses to satirize someone, he would not want to be in the same room. (remember featuring Sting from his piece on preventing cable company f*ckery... yeah so he's okay not being in the same room as him)

    Truth can be uncomfortable. I don't see what's wrong with reporting something objectively. I see everything wrong with putting a "spin" on it.

    Like food, I prefer to digest my own information. I'm not a baby bird and I don't want to take in someone else's vomit.

    Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

    by Future Gazer on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 05:53:54 PM PDT

    •  Terry Gross (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Future Gazer

      perhaps.  Was it NPR?

      •  Yes! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaso, kurt

        I did some googling. Terry Gross from Fresh Air.

        On whether he worries about meeting the people he's ridiculed

        As a comedian you should not be in rooms where the people you're making fun of also are, because you'll realize, at the end of the day, they're just people. You can't risk having that kind of compassion infect your mission to attack. My solution to that is not to curve my jokes — it's to not put myself in the same room as the consequences of those jokes. ...

        A comedian is supposed to be an outsider. He's supposed to be outside looking in. I don't want to be at parties in D.C. with politicians. Comedians shouldn't be there. If you feel comfortable in a room like that, there's a big problem. That's what is so concerning when you see journalists so comfortable around politicians — that's a red flag.

        Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

        by Future Gazer on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 07:35:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately, objectivity is in the eye if the (0+ / 0-)


      Nowadays, sources hide behind PR people - I use the term media muppets - to deliver only spin.

      When you have spin vs spin, you get the modern version of news.

      Marshaling facts takes time and costs money news organizations don't have, save a few like ProPublica, or the occasional traditional outlet.

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 03:52:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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